Sep 042012
 

Fix Medicare, primarily by restricting end-of-life care, as insurance companies do now. Fix Social Security by minor changes to (1) the payroll tax, (2) the benefit formula for high-income beneficiaries and (3) the retirement age. Fix the hopeless hairball that is the U.S. tax code primarily by (1) broadening the [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 182012
 
Too many Canadians?

That’s the headline on Page 1 of the Seattle Times today. The article reports that some residents of the Bellingham area, an easy drive from the Canadian border, are grumbling that Canadian shoppers are overcrowding the parking lots of Costco Wholesale and other box stores on the U.S. side of the [continue reading . . . ]






Jul 032011
 

The bad news is that the United States – indeed, much of the developed world – is in the midst of a “contained depression.” The private sector continues to de-leverage. Unemployment remains high. Pay for most is static or declining. Deflation remains a bigger threat than inflation. Depressions eventually end, [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 222011
 

Oregon would have to increase taxes on each household by more than $2,000 each year for several years to fully fund the pension obligations of its public employees (those working for states, counties, cities, school districts, etc). By this measure, only in New Jersey and New York are the burdens [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 012011
 

On KUOW’s Weekday talk program today, Steve Scher, the host, asked if I had any ideas about the “Lesser Depression” I was talking about. I think I have a decent radio voice, but I’m slow on my feet, not nimble. I stalled for time, then mumbled something about Paul Ryan’s [continue reading . . . ]






May 052011
 
New normal

Mohamed El-Erian and Bill Gross of Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco), the world’s largest fixed-income manager, to the best of my knowledge originated the phrase “new normal” to indicate that things fundamentally changed following the Panic of September 2008 and its aftermath. After studying a number of their writings, freely [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 272011
 

Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s historic press conference, economic policy, high-speed rail and Boeing’s travails with the 787 were among topics on KUOW’s Weekday program today. The Seattle Times columnist and blogger Jon Talton and I batted these and other issues around for nearly 40 minutes with host Steve Scher. Here’s [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 202011
 

Canadian taxes, S&P’s warning that it might downgrade U.S. debt and Zillow’s proposed public offering were the my principal topics on Weekday on KUOW today. Earlier in the hour, Weekday host Steve Scher and Vancouver Sun political correspondent Vaughn Palmer had discussed why Canadians pay much higher prices for everday [continue reading . . . ]